NATO to plan for all options in Afghanistan, including ‘zero option’

BRUSSELS — NATO defense ministers agreed on Thursday to plan for all options for the alliance’s future presence in Afghanistan, including the possibility it may have to pull out all its troops at the end of this year, according to NATO chief Anders Fogh Ramussen on Thursday.

NATO has been planning to keep a slimmed-down force in Afghanistan after the end of this year to train and assist Afghan forces, but NATO and U.S. officials say President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a security agreement with the United States could force it to pull out all its troops.

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen, to a news conference:

“Today we agreed the need to plan for all possible outcomes including the possibility that we may not be able to deploy to Afghanistan after 2014 due to the persistent delays we have seen.”

Source: Reuters

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